Rep. Paul Daza (File photo)

MANILA – Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza has lauded the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and partner agencies for implementing reform initiatives geared towards improving the ease of doing business in the country, particularly in terms of logistics management and operations. 

In his keynote address during the ARTA Logistics Forum 2022 Tuesday, Daza cited ARTA’s Better Regulations Office (BRO) and Department of Transportation (DOTr), among others, for their various initiatives which can also support economic recovery. 

“I know how a multi-agency initiative takes a lot of work, hurdles, and patience. So please, let us all give ARTA and partner agencies a big round of applause,” said Daza, addressing the forum titled: A Road to a Streamlined and Digital Future.

Logistical solutions, especially for ports, are part of Daza’s priority agenda. 

He underscored how the congestion at neighboring Sorsogon’s Matnog Port and Northern Samar’s Allen Port has been a “cause of headaches to all travelers and entrepreneurs” who use the routes.

At Allen Port, Daza shared that the tendency of vessels is to wait until they are full before setting sail, sometimes staying for hours on end and taking up precious port space. 

Daza thus expressed gratitude for the agencies’ Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) on port guidelines that will mandate a “three-hour rule of stay” -- a measure which he foresees will address delays and congestion at both Allen and Matnog ports.

Matnog Port has also been reported as one of the most congested ports in the country. 

As part of Asian Highway 26 (AH26), also known as the Pan-Philippine Highway, Matnog Port is the gateway between Sorsogon and Samar through Allen Port, and is widely used by most logistics providers to transport goods across the archipelago. 

AH26 is a network of roads, ports, and roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessels that spans almost the entire Philippines, from Laoag to Zamboanga.

The JMC also has provisions for the creation of the Unified Logistics Pass (ULP), which eliminates the need for vessels to have multiple pass-through stickers for each economic zone, port and local government unit (LGU).

“These reforms will allow us to support the recovery of the economy,” Daza said.

Daza thus underscored the importance of these logistical milestones, especially for the growing population of entrepreneurs and the demand for timely and efficient freight services.

“The business volume of the Philippines freight and logistics market is estimated at USD15.6 million in 2021,” he said. “The number of online sellers also increased from 1,700 in March 2020 to 93,318 in January 2021, further boosting our e-Commerce. That’s why this event and the wide-ranging modernization efforts that we have been doing are critical.”

“We continue to be accountable to our people. We owe them efficiency, we owe them transparency. Bawal na po ang mabagal! (Slow services are no longer allowed)” he added. “Their taxes pay our salaries and the only way we can honor them is to ensure fast and efficient transactions.” (With reports from Zaldy De Layola/PNA)